How to Become an Electrician and How Much You’ll Make
Deciding to become an electrician is a superb choice for anyone looking for a stable career with an excellent outlook for future job growth. In today’s technologically-influenced world, many trade vocations are being pushed out in favor of computer-intense positions. Electricians have remained bulletproof against this changing culture and will continue to be as long as we need electricity to run all of our technological wonders.
What is an Electrician?
An electrician can work in either the private or public sector, be employed or self-employed, and can work full or part-time. Primary responsibilities include installing and maintaining electrical systems in both homes and businesses. An electrician must have a firm grasp of city code specifications and a thorough knowledge of typical home construction. Some of the career opportunities that await a skilled electrician include: line worker, residential construction work, industrial work, commercial jobs, and self-employed contracting opportunities.
How to Become an Electrician
The first step to becoming a qualified electrician is understanding what the job involves. Because electricity is needed in almost every home and business in the U.S., electricians may be called upon to work in a variety of settings. A good electrician will need a flexible and thorough knowledge of blueprints, wiring connections, building codes, and teamwork. They must also work with the specialized tools of the industry. These tools include ammeters, ohmmeters, oscilloscopes, and voltmeters.
Electrician certification will differ somewhat from state to state, but the minimum requirements have much in common. To become an electrician, the following requirements must be met:
- 18 years of age or older
- High school diploma or GED
- A year’s worth of high school algebra
Once these prerequisites have been met, a prospective electrician must enter into a certified electrician training program. Ideally, this program will be sponsored by a national organization such as the Independent Electrical Contractors. Another route is to secure training through a vocational school, though classroom education must be augmented with an apprenticeship to ensure hands-on training. Full programs, including both classroom and on-the-job training, take approximately four years to complete.
How Much Do Electricians Make?
According to the 2012 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for electricians in the U.S. is $49,840. The median figure in this instance describes the exact halfway point in potential salary for the career. In other words, half of all working electricians earn less than that amount while the other half earns more. Starting apprentices in the early stages of their career make up the majority of the lower half, while electricians with more skill and experience trend toward the top. The top 10 percent of earners are making more than $82,000 a year. The highest-paid electricians are those who have turned their skill and expertise into business school teaching positions.